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More than a thousand globes of glass sparkle when the sun shines through a skylight at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. The brightly colored glass is part of the DNA Tower, designed by American glass artist Dale Chihuly.

DNA Tower by Dale Chihuly, 2003.

The sculpture of the double helix commemorates a double anniversary: the school’s 100th anniversary and the discovery of the structure of DNA 50 years ago by Indiana University alumnus James D. Watson and his colleague Francis Crick.

A closer look at the hanging glass globes.

To represent the twists of the helix and the four chemical units of DNA, Chihuly used shaped glass forms in different colors—blues, greens, mauves, and yellow. The backbone of the piece is a double-helical armature of steel supporting the twisted molecular pattern.

The 19-foot-tall sculpture was made possible by an anonymous donor. The tower weighs more than a ton and is 5.5 feet in diameter.

View a slideshow of the installation of the DNA Tower.

To see more art work by Dale Chihuly, visit the artist’s Web site.

Birgit Reinert

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